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Can a Westy pop top be put on a hardtop weekender
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akyrie
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 18, 2010 4:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does anyone have the measurements that they used when mounting the pop-top? I am a little worried that I don't have a donor vehicle to take measurements from. I might try and find a westy in my area (Columbus OH)to measure from, but if I cant figure that out, I was hoping someone had the paper that they wrote down the measurements on still handy. I would really appreciate a drawing or some place to get started from. Otherwise I see myself putting the top on a million times so I can picture how it all goes....
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Timwhy
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 19, 2010 2:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

akyrie wrote:
Does anyone have the measurements that they used when mounting the pop-top? I am a little worried that I don't have a donor vehicle to take measurements from. I might try and find a westy in my area (Columbus OH)to measure from, but if I cant figure that out, I was hoping someone had the paper that they wrote down the measurements on still handy. I would really appreciate a drawing or some place to get started from. Otherwise I see myself putting the top on a million times so I can picture how it all goes....


Don't know if it will exactly help you but here's a link to Alistairs' site with all
kinds of measurement for various style Vanagons.

http://shufti.wordpress.com/2009/11/10/more-m-code-data/
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ragnarhairybreeks
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 19, 2010 2:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm in the rather drawn out process of doing what you want to do. I have the advantage of a wrecked westy to take measurements, but I am still reluctant to cut the top Smile

Mark (crazyvwman) has posted links to mike snow's work (http://picasaweb.google.com/slowmachine82/SyncroCamperConversion#), and here is what he wrote to me to give me some confidence to go ahead:

"Hi Alistair. I have done it 6 times now. Put the metal canvas hold-down strips on the roof, tweaking the corners so they line up with each other and center them side to side. Tape each piece down near each end and then you can see where the hole needs to be with some certainty.

The 43" by 43" hole in the sheet metal should be cut with large radius corners. Then deburr the edge, fold 1/2" friction tape over it all the way around. Cut the headliner hole several inches smaller, like 36" x 36". Then pull the headliner taut and fold it over the taped edge. Push some plastic edge trim over it, working around the hole until done. If satisfied, use a razor blade to trim the excess headliner fabric back to the trim edge.

Also the 43x43 needs an extra relief area cut in the center of the forward edge for your hands to be able to work the top mechanism easily. Trim the metal edge but leave enough sheet metal for the edge trim to still fit. Radius the relief area gradually so the trim won't have to fit any sharp bends."

and about the location of the pop top struts (on the westy they are fastened about 3/4" below the roof surface):


"I mounted the legs on the top of the existing roof metal. With a new canvas you may adjust the canvas to compensate. If you are reusing a canvas this likely won't work without also shortening the effective length of the legs.

In that case there is room at each end of the 2 legs to drill a new hole farther in from the end by about 3/8". So 3/8 at the top and 3/8 at the bottom gives 3/4" total shorter legs. You don't have to cut off the existing holes and then you can still use them in the future if you wish to. Look inside the legs before drilling!

Leave room on all 4 sides for the edge trim to fit nicely. You can cut the hole slightly larger than 43x43 but I find it is nice to have a little more shelf area to set things on when camped with the top up. The front edge is best just trimmed more only where your hands go and then the edge trim sits better everywhere else for aesthetic reasons."


And a hint about the backing plates for the roof hinge:

"The threaded backing plates are no problem with a helper. The space for them is tight so narrow and thin is the way to go. They need a forward extension to use as a handle while positioning them. The last one that I just did I used rivnuts in the roof for the 6 rear hinge bolts instead of threaded plates. I used hardened 1/4" bolts. I also used rivnuts on one a while back but used 5/16" bolts in that one and the rivnuts didn't grab as well to the thin sheet metal as the smaller ones do. In both cases I used a washer between the rivnut and the roof to get closer to the grip range of the rivnut. For the next one may go back to threaded plates but probably aluminum plate rather than steel like I have done."


If you search on my blog (URL in sig), you can find links to pics and info on top cutting etc. Much of what I have there has probably been linked to here before, but if you want to spend the time wading through the blog posts, you might find something new.

I have to clean out a bay in the barn/garage to make room to paint my pop top and luggage rack, then cut the top. I will be posting pics of the process on my blog, but I am a slow worker and you might get yours finished first Smile

alistair
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akyrie
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 19, 2010 4:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thats an excellent sounding rundown of the process. Makes it sound fairly simple, but I think it is a lot like a cooking show. If everything is pre-measured and sitting in little clearly marked containers, anybody could make a cake ...
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akyrie
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 12, 2011 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am going to dig in tomorrow on this project. I only plan on doing 1/2 of it though, I think I will start with the luggage rack tomorrow, which hopefully will go smoothly enough that it will pressure me into doing the real stuff next weekend. wish me luck.
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J Charlton Premium Member
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 12, 2011 4:52 pm    Post subject: top Reply with quote

If the intent of putting a pop top on is to provide more sleeping berths then you might want to consider the high top option. Lots of space up there for storage while on the road without weakening the top of the van.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 12, 2011 5:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

im dying to do this conversion im planning to to build my own fold out bed
its just impossible to find a pop top in South Carolina!
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akyrie
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 13, 2011 5:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ahh shoe you nay sayers. I have been thinking about the structure of the van for awhile, but I don't see how much "structural support" the cutout section provides. Also considering that Westfalia, or VW made "the Joker" conversion (which is essentially the same thing that I am doing here, and many have done before me) available, also leads me to believe that the structural loss is minimal.

I know I am doing a couple things backwards, but I figure this is because I am young. I should clean, paint and re-seale the topper before I go through the trouble of installing it. But I just realized that my weekend was open enough for me to get started and I haven't yet done all the previous steps. The new seals are ordered, and I will wash the top, but the one thing that is causing me pain is the tent decision. I would love to put on a nice new three window nylon tent, but I don't know if I can do that just yet. I will have to put a new tent on when I pull the whole top off to clean and repaint maybe next year(hopefully also get a skylight at that time too!)
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DAIZEE
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 13, 2011 6:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hmmm what about a high top addition?
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bquigs
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 13, 2011 7:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

akyrie wrote:
Does anyone have the measurements that they used when mounting the pop-top? I am a little worried that I don't have a donor vehicle to take measurements from...


akyie,

I just re-read this thread and realized that I hve what you need:

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Measurments in mm (of course) and make sure you use a flexable ruler tight up against the curv of the roof. ONE disclamer, I have not yet fit the roof on my ptoject but was confident enough to drill the holes and rivit in the backing plate. Its not a complicated measurement. For the front I just attached the brackets to the luggage rack, put double stick foam mounting tape on each bracket, set it in place, removed the bolts through the rack and removed it, leaving in place all four brackets attached the roof where they should be, worked like a charm.
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akyrie
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 13, 2011 7:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That looks great bquigs I especially liked your method of using stick tape instead of measuring for the front luggage rack brackets! ok off to the hardware store to get necessities. Thanks Samba.
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ragnarhairybreeks
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 13, 2011 9:02 am    Post subject: Re: top Reply with quote

J Charlton wrote:
If the intent of putting a pop top on is to provide more sleeping berths then you might want to consider the high top option. Lots of space up there for storage while on the road without weakening the top of the van.



Not everyone likes the hight top route, and I don't believe that cutting the roof section under discussion weakens the van.

alistair
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Sir Sam
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 13, 2011 12:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bquigs wrote:
akyrie wrote:
Does anyone have the measurements that they used when mounting the pop-top? I am a little worried that I don't have a donor vehicle to take measurements from...


akyie,

I just re-read this thread and realized that I hve what you need:

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Measurments in mm (of course) and make sure you use a flexable ruler tight up against the curv of the roof. ONE disclamer, I have not yet fit the roof on my ptoject but was confident enough to drill the holes and rivit in the backing plate. Its not a complicated measurement. For the front I just attached the brackets to the luggage rack, put double stick foam mounting tape on each bracket, set it in place, removed the bolts through the rack and removed it, leaving in place all four brackets attached the roof where they should be, worked like a charm.


Once you remove the roof skin the support bracket that the bolts screw into needs to be removed too, its pretty obvious where it needs to be installed on the new van, based off of the metal geometry you can get it in place to within a MM left right back forward, etc.
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akyrie
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 13, 2011 2:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wow thanks, I just finished attached the front luggage rack, and did some measuring for the rear pop top section. I used the double stick tape to line up the holes for the brackets, that was great. I had a couple problems with the tape not sticky to the brackets enough but they eventually worked. Now the luggage rack is secured, I made final adjustments to the luggage racks positioning with the pop top on the van to make sure everything works well together. Right now the van looks like Frankenstien wth the front luggage rack on and not the pop top, but it's our daily driver and I will have to finish next weekend, it's supposed to be warm! Thanks samba for the help.

A.
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akyrie
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 26, 2011 6:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Getting itchy to finish this project, but I don't have a tent yet. The topper is from an 1983 westy, and uses staples to attach it to the topper. I can't seem to find a straight answer to this question, can I use a tent from a newer van(that uses the aluminum strips and screws), and staple it to the topper? I was going to work on this project this weekend, but I haven't been able to figure out what to do about the tent issue....little hangups!
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akyrie
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2011 1:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am not sure anyone is watching this anymore except myself, but I have another question on this project. I am preparing for the pop-top mount and am trying to get everything together for a sunny day when I can do it. To brace the rear pop top hinge/strut area similar to this one https://picasaweb.google.com/slowmachine82/SyncroCamperConversion#5232593746994240802 what I am caught up on is where he states "Holes for the M8 bolts are drilled and tapped so we don't have to use nuts." I tried to use a Tee Nut, Pronged but i had to drill out small holes for the prongs. I think this is creating more problems than it is solving. Does anyone know the type of nut that was used in this example?
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DAIZEE
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2011 2:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sometimes hard to get answers on weekends. Did you look at the FAQ thread, and then try a search? Just to give you something to do. Wink
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crazyvwvanman
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2011 2:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Those long metal plates ARE the nuts. The three holes are drilled into each plate and then the holes are threaded using an M8 tap. The longer end of the plate is a handle to let you slide the plate into position while someone put the bolts down through the hinges and roof, and screw the bolts into the long plates.

Mark


akyrie wrote:
I am not sure anyone is watching this anymore except myself, but I have another question on this project. To brace the rear pop top hinge/strut area similar to this one https://picasaweb.google.com/slowmachine82/SyncroCamperConversion#5232593746994240802 what I am caught up on is where he states "Holes for the M8 bolts are drilled and tapped so we don't have to use nuts." I tried to use a Tee Nut, Pronged but i had to drill out small holes for the prongs. I think this is creating more problems than it is solving. Does anyone know the type of nut that was used in this example?
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akyrie
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2011 2:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ok I get it now. thanks, some reason I had originally thought the washers were some kind of insert.. will try again.

A.
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akyrie
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 9:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Today is it, I am going to cut. My friend that usually assists me is not going to be able to help. It's just too sunny for me to wait anylonger. I have just taped off where the hole is for cutting. Following the syncro camper conversion thread that many people have used as a reference. I have the back braces done, drilled and tapped, and I bought the aluminum brackets to support under the front pop-top hinges, I figured that I should just cut it open so I can see how that will work out exactly, not a lot of prep. Wish me luck,

A.
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